Friday, March 16, 2018


For those of you just joining us...


My name is Tony Isabella. I do not own a mansion and a yacht, but, I would love to own a mansion. Especially if it comes with a wacky yet endearing staff.


I am a going-on-46-year veteran of the comic-book industry. I’m the creator and writer of Black Lightning, co-creator of Misty Knight and Tigra, and a writer of Captain America, Champions, Daredevil, Dracula, Ghost Rider, Grim Ghost, Hawkman, Iron Fist, the Living Mummy, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Star Trek and many others.

Like Superman, I was born in Cleveland, Ohio.  I was an editor and writer at Marvel Comics and other publishers. At DC Comics, I created Black Lightning, the company’s first prominent African-American super-hero.  I co-wrote the prose novels Captain America: Liberty’s Torch and Star Trek: The Case of the Colonist’s Corpse. I’m the author of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, one of the most successful books of comics history and nostalgia ever, and the odd-but-strangely-wondrous July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume 1.  I was the lead reviewer and also a contributing editor of Comics Buyer’s Guide for over two decades.  I was a comics retailer and distributor for twelve years. I have  been a ghost-writer for several syndicated newspaper comics strips. I received the Inkpot Award at the 2013 Comic-Con International in San Diego and a Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. Cleveland Magazine named me one of that city’s most interesting people of 2018.

My most recent comics work is the six-issue Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, marking my return to my creation. I write the mostly daily “Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing” and the weekly “Tony’s Tips” review column. I lecture at colleges and such on comics history, comics writing and diversity in comics.  While developing several new projects for comics, movies and more, I am writing books that include both a “memoir-of-sorts” and compilations of my writings on comic books and his beloved B-movie monsters.

Perhaps most notable...Black Lightning is now a weekly, live-action series on the CW. The show has drawn much of its inspiration from my comic-book work on the character.

I have heard of something called “retirement,” but it is an alien concept. I live in Medina, Ohio with my pharmacist wife Barbara. Our all-grown-up children are Ed and Kelly; Ed is a professional engineer and Kelly is a credit card fraud analyst. I have a cat named Simba. Except for the cat, they all have much better and saner jobs than I have. The cat doesn’t need a job. She has me.


If you’d like to see me at a comics convention or some other event,
here’s my schedule for the remainder of 2018.

March 24: Cleveland Public Library Coffee and Comics

April 27-29: East Coast Comicon

May 5: Toys Time Forgot (FCBD)

May 18-19: East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention

June 8-10: Fingerlakes Comic Con

July 13-15: G-Fest

August 17-18: TerrifiCon (Connecticut)

August 19: NEO Comic Con (North Olmsted)

September 8-9: Hall of Heroes Museum

September 28-30: Baltimore Comic Con

November 3-4: Akron Comicon

November 9-11: Grand Rapids Comic Con

November 17-18: Great American Comic Convention (Las Vegas)

To answer a FAQ, I am not adverse to adding events to my schedule. We’ll talk about that in a minute.

To answer another FAQ, I won’t be at that convention you would like me to be at because either I haven’t been invited to it or because the event was unable/unwilling to meet my requirements for being a guest at said event.

To answer yet another FAQ, I’m not currently planning to attend San Diego’s Comic-Con International. That’s an expensive event for me to attend and I can only attend when either the convention itself or one of my clients covers my expenses.


Why not?


If you would like to have me as a guest at your convention or other event, you must invite me and meet my requirements for appearing at your event. Though I’ve made exceptions in the past and will make them for a small number of shows dear to my heart, my requirements do include hotel expenses, travel expenses, sufficient table space and placement for me to sell and sign items, per diem for food and incidentals and an appearance fee. I am a great date, but I am not a cheap date. I don’t think I’m a terribly expensive date, but every convention or event promoter has to figure out if I can fit into their budget.

Many conventions have a problem with paying comics guests. Some of those have no qualms about laying out cash for some minor movie or TV actor. I cast no aspersions on their business models, but I do believe that paying comics creators will be standard business practice in a few more years.

If a convention or event meets my requirements, I will appear on up to two panels a day if they are not back to back. I will promote my appearance and their event on my social media. I will be available if their local print newspaper, radio station or TV station wants to do an interview. Most importantly, I will not charge the fans for my signature on their Isabella-written items.

If you are a publisher or filmmaker who wants me to write for you, you should contact me with as many details as you feel comfortable revealing to me. I am not looking for “back-end deals” that may or may not pay off on that back end. I have a great many projects of my own that I can work on and that likewise have no guarantee of a payday. I only put those aside for the paying gigs.

If you are a convention/event promoter or a client looking to hire me for a project, the best way to contact me is via e-mail. I will respond to your e-mail as swiftly as possible.

If “How are you still around?” is the question you want to ask, I can only repeat what I’ve told fans and fellow comics creators when they’ve asked that.

I’m still around because I refused to go away despite the efforts of several disreputable comics industry people and despite my two decades of struggle against their breaking of agreements and their slanderous comments. I kept writing and getting paid for what I was writing, even if my name wasn’t on it. I kept a visible presence on the Internet. I wouldn’t go away.

Thanks for indulging me today. From time to time, I find it useful and necessary to post something like today’s bloggy thing. I’ll be back tomorrow with something that’s hopefully a lot more fun than what I wrote today. See you then.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

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